(Closed) Giving photographer a must have list

posted 7 years ago in Photos/Videos
  • poll: Are you giving your photographer a must have photo list?
    Yes : (68 votes)
    71 %
    No : (28 votes)
    29 %
  • Post # 3
    1024 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: June 2014

    @peabee:  Our photographer is supplying a worksheet with all of those details prior to our date!

    Post # 4
    1314 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: May 2006

    @peabee:  If you are nervous your photographer doesn’t know to capture the first kiss or other key moments you’ve absolutely hired the wrong photographer.  A professional wedding photographer DOES NOT and should not need a huge list of “must have” shots.  A list of family photos yes, a conversation with the client to go over things that are important – yes, collaborative input – possibly – but these mile long checklists you find on the Knot and elsewhere are ridiculous.

    Post # 5
    4495 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    I say that you should definitely specify what you want. Photographers have their own style and that doesn’t make them any less professional. My FSIL’s photographer did all very traditional photos. They turned out great and were just what she wanted. I personally prefer photographers who have a background in photojournalism. Thats just what I like. Those types tend to capture didn’t images than the more traditional photographers will. If I see a picture I love on Pinterest or in a magazine you can bet I’m saving it to show my photographer just want I want. I think the first kiss is pretty standard, but other shots might not be.

    Post # 6
    101 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    I like to plan and make spreadsheets, so I had a list made before we picked a photographer.

    Now that we have one, I don’t think I’ll give her the list.  One of the things we love about her work is that she really captures the feeling of a wedding, and I’m confident that she’ll get all the important moment pictures plus a ton of great shots that I wouldn’t have thought of on my own.

    If I give her a list, it would only be for specific combinations of people (for example, if certain family members want pictures of certain people).

    Post # 7
    977 posts
    Busy bee

    You hired your photographer, you should trust their judgement.  If they’ve been in the business long enough, they know what to capture.  Only thing I’d give to a photographer for a must have is any photos with family, like with grandparents and such.  I’m a photographer, and when a client gives me a 5 page list of must haves, i laugh…seriously. I don’t have time in the day to take the list out to review it to make sure i got everything she listed on the must have list.  The day is fast paced and goes by so quickly.  There isn’t time to review a list,   assistant or not.  It’s just not going to happen.  10 years experience photographing 15+ weddings  summer….


    Q:  Should I provide a Shot List?

    A:  I have been given everything from fifteen-page shot lists to ” I trust you, do whatever you want.”  For most photographers the list doesn’t really matter, unless of course, you plan on checking off every item on the list and holding him or her to it.  But, that’s a big mistake and let me tell you why…

    If a photographer is sticking to a shot list and knows that you are monitoring it he or she will be so set on getting that list for you that they will miss all the wonderful moments going on at your wedding that are probably far more valuable to you than a shot list you found in a wedding planning guide.  If you have interviewed properly and have heard positive feedback about your photographer then you have to trust that the photographer will do a good job for you as well.


    Every photographer is different.  I know plenty who despise shot lists and say that it stifles their creativity and that they refuse to work with them.  I know others who love them and are happy to deliver everything on the list.  I personally don’t mind a shot list and it gives me a great idea of what is important to you.  The reality is that if you paid for a good photographer, he/she will give you everything you want without you having to ask for it.

    If you have any doubts, ask the photographer to walk you through a typical day of shooting and some of the things that they cover.  Also ask to see a few galleries of full weddings and see if they normally cover the things on your list.  If they have, be confident and move on.  If not, politely suggest a small shot list.

    Post # 8
    7899 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

    I hired someone who wouldn’t need a list and whose talent I would be insulting to give a list to.

    Post # 9
    13788 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    My photographer asked for any specific shots we wanted that weren’t standard (i.e., she knew we wanted all the family combinations, etc).  But Fiance wanted a few fun ones, and he discussed them with her prior to the wedding so she knew what he was thinking for that.  But otherwise, we trusted her experience in getting the right shots (and she got everything we wanted!)

    Post # 10
    262 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: November 2010

    I’m a wedding photographer, and would rather just get a list of family group shots that you want, and to let me excersise my creativity the rest of the day. I know which shots I’m supposed to get, so a huge list of shots would just keep me preocuppied with carrying it around and checking off what I have done, instead of paying attention to the key moments.

    I also don’t want a pinterest board with poses. Do you really want your photos to look like someone elses? I think you’d rather have originality and good imagination in your photos. 

    Post # 11
    4690 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: June 2013 - Upstate NY

    I don’t think it’s about insulting the photographer at all. My photographer is wonderful, high-rated (and freakin’ expensive) and he requested a shot list from me, at least for formals. What he’ll do is call out the people to make SURE I get all my important peeps in my shots. How’s he supposed to know my Aunt’s name or that I really want a shot with just the groomsmen?

    They’re professionals but they’re not mind readers. They also don’t know your family dynamic. Giving a list of “musts” is essential. You wouldn’t want to miss anyone!

    Post # 12
    7103 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2012

    @adoc86:  That’s an example where you hire the appropriate photographer. Sounds like your SIL did, because she likes traditional shots and that’s what her photographer delivered. You aboslutely can not hire a traditional photographer, and give them a list and except them to get creative shots. It doesn’t work like that. I’m not sure if that’s what you were saying, but I just think it’s important to point out a list doesn’t make a creative photographer, it actually really stiffles them.

    Shot list are the bain of most photographer’e existance. Place like The Know did brides a huge disservice when they started putting those out. An expereinced professional photographer knows what to capture. Everything on those lists are standard shots we normally get.

    Case in point, last weekend’s wedding. The mother of the bride would come up to us constantly and say “we really want a picture of the cake”….yep, already got it….”we really want a picture of the sign with their names on it”…yep, already got it. Get where I’m going with this?

    The ONLY time I ask for, and work from, a list is during family formals. I have all of my couples provide me with a list of each combination they want and the particiatants by name (example : Sue, John, Sara, Luke, Sam). That way I’m calling their family by name, it’s more personal and we’re not wasting time calling out “okay, I need brides parents”.

    If you’ve hired a photographer and you feel like you need to give them a list, you’ve hired the wrong photographer.

    Post # 13
    7103 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2012

    @lealorali:  This is different from a “shot list”. It’s very common for photographers to ask for a list for family formals, because we don’t know who all the family members are. A “shot list” like the OP is referred to is what you see in wedding magazines and online that list of things like :

    • Picture of cake
    • Picture of bride w/ bridesmaid
    • Picture of groom w/ groomsmen
    • Picture of table
    • Picture of bouqet

    All standard shots we get at each wedding.

    Post # 14
    1548 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: November 1999

    The only list we are providing our photograpger are specifics of family photos, we want to make sure we get formal photos with all extended family. We aren’t worried about her getting shots of the key moments of our ceremony and reception, we know she will get those photos.

    Post # 15
    8439 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: April 2013

    My photographer sent me a ‘pre-wedding’ photo questionnaire.  It basically asked what shots we thought were important, if we had anything specific that we had to have, shots we didn’t want, certain poses, etc.  She also listed shots that she would typically get (bride with parents, bride and groom, wedding party etc) and asked us to add to or cross off what was listed.  I feel very confident about my photographer, so we’re mostly letting her decide on how to do each shot.  Of course there are certain items (cake topper, programs, menus, etc) that I definitely wanted pictures of because we DIY’d so much of our wedding.  She also put together a timeline for us.

    Post # 16
    1284 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2012

    I devised a list of all the family combinations we wanted for my photographer and left the rest up to her.

    I’d definitely recommend putting together this list…. especially if you have large families. We also put someone in charge of lining everyone up. With these two things we knocked out our family photos in like 20 minutes. It was great!


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